Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday September 9 2013

Almost done with Timon of Athens now. Can’t promise a text on it next week but I’ll be getting started soon. Ideas for it are swimming around the gray cells. It’s been awhile since I’ve written about a book of interest but today I will. I read Rothwell’s book in 2010 so I’m way behind.

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
  • Celia, about whom I wrote in my text on As You Like It (see sidebar under Play Analyses) is described by Shakespeare as short and dark while Rosalind is tall and fair.  This can be compared with others among Shakespeare’s female leads and could be symbolic but D&F point out that it’s probably just because that’s what his boy actors looked like.
  • There are a lot of Charleses in Shakespeare because there are a lot of Charleses in history. The one I like best in this dictionary is the listing of Charles’s Wain, mentioned in Henry IV Part Two (the one we saw on stage in London in 2008, though I can’t claim to remember this detail). Charles here refers to Charlemagne and wain is a wagon so this is one name for The Big Dipper, which in Swedish is called Karlavagnen. An “aha” moment.
  • Christmas, well it’s too early so I’ll try to remember to mention the Shakespeare connection in a Monday report in December.

 Shakespeare sightings:
  • In the book Shakespeare’s Local by Pete Brown, about the George Inn where the Swedish Shakespeare Society’s course was held this summer (see the report under “Ruby’s Reflections” and the last two weeks’ Monday reports), the author continues to toss in Shakespeare’s name now and again though I haven’t quite reached the point where Sam Wanamaker starts the Globe project (that will come next week though I’ll probably finish the book tomorrow):
    • In describing an interesting but poorly written history of the George, Brown retells the story about monkeys hammering on typewriters long enough to produce  Shakespeare and adds in a footnote: “The idea that the complete works of Shakespeare were in fact written by an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters has not yet been presented as a serious theory by the anti-Stratfordian camp. I think this is a bit of a shame. Not least because there is a more cogent rationale and a greater degree of thinking behind it than many of the more popular conspiracy theories.” Oooh nasty.  I like it!
    • He goes on to tell us that just before World War I broke out Americans started to visit London, searching for Shakespeare and Dickens, who were immensely popular in the States at the time.
    • In the ‘30’s Shakespeare Day was still happening every year and the Bishop of Southwark said that Stratford was Shakespeare’s birthplace but Southwark was where he “mounted the ladder of fame and won his greatest triumphs”.
    • When the George was going to be renovated (one of many times) the Evening News was so excited it used the following headline to announce it: “LAST OF LONDON’S COACHING INNS THE ‘GEORGE’ TO RENEW ITS YOUTH SHAKESPEARE USED TO GO THERE SO DID DICKENS. “ Guess headlines were about as truthful then as they are now.
    • When the National Trust bought the George the contract to renovate and run it was given to Flower & Son from Stratford.
    • Shakespeare Day continued for awhile after WWII and in 1947 The Merry Wives of Windsor was performed in the yard.
  • Everybody’s favorite Elizabeth I – Dame Judi Dench – has the lead in the new film Philomena. In a long interview published in Dagens Nyheter the eighty year old acting icon says, “Theater is still my first passion, especially Shakespeare.”

 Further this week:
  • Continued reading aloud with Hal: Timon of Athens.

 Posted this week:
  • A report on Kenneth S. Rothwell’s A History of Shakespeare on Screen – A Century of Film and Television.
  • This Monday report.

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